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Students undergo weapons training

  |   Aug. 20, 2007 at 5:46 PM
SVALBARD, Norway, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Students in Svalbard, Norway, are taught how to use a shotgun and ammunition to fend off polar bears at the beginning of every school year.

Since polar bears can outrun a human in a matter of seconds, every student at the University Center undergoes weapons and arctic survival training, Aftenposten reported Monday.

“It's absolutely necessary,” said UNIS director Gunnar Sand.

The school loans weapons, ammunition, tents, sleeping bags, survival suits, snow scooters and other equipment out as well.

Polar bears are not the only thing that student have to worry about either.

"Polar bears are one thing," Sand noted. "Even more dangerous is the extreme cold, and the winds. There also are dangerous glaciers, steep cliffs, and it's a long way between settlements."

The University Center in Svalbard is also the world’s northernmost higher education institution, offering courses in Arctic Biology, Arctic Geology, Arctic Geophysics and Arctic Technology.

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